On September 17, a 30-year-old man in Beijing died of exhaustion after spending three days in an Internet café playing online video games. Psychiatrists call this Internet addiction. I call it: You best believe he was probably at the top level in “World of Warcraft.”
We are the youth of the digital age – this is the age where you can talk on Skype to someone in Russia while simultaneously watching yourself burp the alphabet on YouTube. This is the generation where you can play videogames until your heart is content – or at least until it gives out and you die.
Yes, that’s right. Our generation has reached new grounds. We have stopped shooting, snorting and smoking our way into an early trip through the heavenly gates. Instead, we are supposedly sitting and clicking our way to the morgue.
But should we start worrying about this so-called “addiction?” Is it really serious when our generation has locked itself indoors for days at a time, losing all kinds of social interaction just to be the best at “Halo”?
In actuality, all this gaming is creating a generation more equipped to enter the new world. Companies like Cold Stone have followed in the footsteps of the military and created online video games as a tool for training. The next time you get Birthday Cake Remix, you thank that video game nerd for mastering the online ice cream jungle – and for always singing you a little jingle.
Gen Y-ers are not addicted and video games are not our drug of choice. Instead of going out to parties we are finding new ways to make friends. We are creating a new kind of communication, one where you can walk into a group of people and some conveniently placed television screens and say proudly, “We would like to play.”